All you have to know is everything is created from thought, you don’t have to know anything else. – Sydney Banks
In this article, you’re going to discover a discriminator that will help clear up the common misunderstanding behind using feelings as a way to make decisions (hint: not recommended). In the process, it’s going to take a lot off your mind, and have you taking action where you may have been stuck until now.
Clearing Up a Misunderstanding
Have you ever been confused about whether or not to follow your feelings, especially when you’re in a challenging situation or have a big decision to make? If so, you’re not alone.
In over twenty years as an executive coach, workshop leader and trainer of coaches, I’ve found that one of the biggest areas of confusion I see when people start exploring the principles behind how the mind works is the area of feelings and emotionality.
Have you ever been told you should “do what feels right”, or “trust your gut” or “wait until you feel inspired”? As a result of this well-meaning but ambiguous advice, people sometimes get paralyzed while waiting for “the right feeling” to come. Or they dive into analysis of their feelings, trying to discern what their feelings are telling them to do so they can use them as a basis for decision-making. In the worst cases, it can end up boiling down to a kind of “If it feels good, do it – if it feels bad, don’t” philosophy which can lead to passivity and/or victimhood.
Your Feelings are Expert at One Thing Only
Your feelings are an incredibly precise and accurate gauge or signal. They’re an aspect of your neurophysiology that has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years, to help you live, thrive and survive here on planet Earth. Your body has countless feedback loops and signaling systems to govern things as diverse as body temperature, hydration and pH level. Just as the fuel gauge and speedometer in your car give you precise feedback about fuel level and speed respectively, your internal ‘gauges’ give you feedback on specific and interconnected rhythms and systems that are designed to keep you running at your optimum.
In 1852, pioneering neuroscientist Hermann Helmholtz realized something extraordinary. As Chris Frith recounts in his book, Making Up The Mind: How the Brain Creates our Mental World:
“Helmholtz realized that various processes must be occurring in the brain before a representation of an object in the outside world appears in the mind. He proposed that perception of the world was not direct, but depended on ‘unconscious inferences’.”
In this article, we’ll be referring to the mind’s power to create a representation of the outside world as ‘the principle of Thought’.
The one thing your feelings are a reflection of is your Thought-generated perceptual reality in this moment.
Your car’s speedometer is an expert on one thing and one thing alone: the speed at which the wheels are turning. It can’t tell you anything about your car’s fuel level, its RPMs or the engine temperature. Your speedometer doesn’t know anything about those things. Your feelings are an expert on one thing and one thing alone: The formless power of Thought taking form in this moment.
The moment you change your perception is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body. – Bruce Lipton
What Are Your Feelings Really Telling You?
Your feelings can’t tell you anything about your past, your future, what other people think of you or what you’re like as a person. Our feelings don’t know anything about those things. When we innocently believe our feelings are telling us about these things, we can get into trouble. And we do: we all sometimes get tricked into believing our feelings are telling us about something ‘other’ than Thought in the moment. We believe our feelings are letting us know about future events or past experiences. We believe they’re letting us know about our progress or our prospects, our relationships or our achievements. We believe they’re letting us know about future glories or indignities, about the path we’ve trodden or the road ahead.
This is what I call the ‘outside-in illusion’; the mistaken belief that we’re feeling something other than the principle of Thought taking form, moment to moment in our consciousness. By the way, if you struggle with the phrase ‘your feelings are a reflection of the principle of Thought taking form in the moment’, here are some other ways of saying the same thing:
– You’re living in the experience of the energy behind life taking form in the moment…
– You’re living in the intelligent energy of all things creating your perceptual reality in the moment…
– You’re living in the experience of God creating breathing life into this moment…
Welcome Back to the Reality You’re Optimized For
We all fall into the outside-in illusion from time to time. When we do, our heads fill up with contaminated, outside-in thinking as we make mental to-do lists and try to strategize our way forward. But the outside-in illusion is just that; an illusion. It doesn’t really exist. And we haven’t evolved to thrive in a world that doesn’t exist; we’ve evolved to live, thrive and survive in the reality of the present moment; the world of our real-time sensory experience. And the moment we fall out of the outside-in misunderstanding, reality is exactly where we land. And when we fall out of our contaminated thinking and into reality, we find that we know what to do, and what not to do. This is sometimes called “common sense” or “wisdom”. And it’s the most natural thing in the world.
So here’s a question you might find useful: Where do you believe your feelings are coming from?
If it genuinely seems like they’re coming from anywhere other than the ebb and flow of Thought in this moment, you’ve been tricked into believing in a world that doesn’t exist. And the second you wake up to that, even as a possibility, you’re on your way back to your reality. So if you’re not using feelings as the primary guide when making decisions, how do you know what to do? Here’s the thing: you actually make thousands of decisions each day, without even thinking about them consciously. Most of the time, your decisions are taken effortlessly as you respond to the moment. The times when that doesn’t happen is when we’re caught up in the outside-in misunderstanding. And the moment we wake up from that misunderstanding, we know what to do.
The moment you insightfully realize that you’re living in the feeling of Thought in the moment, and not what you’ve been thinking about, you’ll wake up in the here and now. And you’re optimized for the here and now. This is where you thrive. Right here. Right now. Welcome.
If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” Daniel Goleman
What do you feel and think about this article? Perhaps it’s about balance? Perhaps you govern your life by intuition … is that the same as a gut feeling? What about psychic intuition – where might that come into play? We love feeling into and processing new concepts and theories and we love sharing them with you. And what we love more is your feedback in the comments below.
Much love Team Uplift
Jamie Smart is a Sunday Times bestselling author, speaker and coach. He shows individuals and organizations the unexpected keys to clarity; the ultimate leverage point for creating more time, better decisions and meaningful results. He’s passionate about helping individuals and businesses to deepen their understanding of the principles behind clarity, and to create the results that matter to them. In addition to working with a handful of coaching clients and leading selected corporate programs, Jamie runs professional development workshops for business leaders, trainers, coaches and consultants.